10 Best Horror Movies That Take Place In Skyscrapers | ScreenRant

For some, skyscrapers can be epic, beautiful examples of great architecture and modern technology. For others, however, tall buildings can bring about anxiety, paranoia, and dread. Towering heights, cramped elevators, sometimes taking passengers up to 100 floors above street level, and an ever-present fear of potential disaster makes towering buildings a great source of tension.

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So it's no wonder why skyscrapers make excellent settings for horror and suspense films. The audience is already primed for terror before the story even begins, all filmmakers need to do is harness that underlying fear to create some seriously suspenseful films.

10 The Shaft / Down (2001) - Available To Rent On Amazon Prime

Originally released as Down at the Cannes Film Festival, but later retitled The Shaft for its DVD release, the movie centers around the fictional 102-story Millenium building in New York City. One night, during a storm, a lightning bolt strikes the building, causing the elevators to start acting erratically, killing whoever boards them.

The movie is an American remake of the classic 1983 Dutch film De Lift, and was even directed by the original's filmmaker, Dick Maas. According to D23, some have even speculated that Disney's famous Hollywood Tower of Terror ride may have taken inspiration from De Lift and not The Twilight Zone, since there was never an elevator episode in the series.

9 Candyman (1992) - Available On Tubi

Set inside Chicago's massive Cabrini-Green public housing units, Candyman utilized the issues of race and poverty to create a horror film that felt unsettlingly real. During the late '70s and into the '90s, the Cabrini-Green housing units became home to poverty, gang violence, and neglect by city officials.

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The reputation of the Cabrini-Green complex inspired director and screenwriter Bernard Rose to adapt Clive Barker's short story The Forbidden, transporting the plot from a rundown estate into the halls of the notorious Chicago housing units.

8 Cloverfield (2008) - Available On HBO Max

Cloverfield was the first real monster movie to be released in U.S. theaters since 1998's controversial Godzilla remake. In the film, a giant alien emerges from the ocean and begins destroying New York City. Released in 2008, it was also one of the first movies to depict Manhattan being attacked in a post-9/11 world.

One of the most famous scenes in the film took place at One Columbus Circle. The twin-towered, 55-story complex was attacked by the monster in Cloverfield, causing one of the towers to collapse into the other. The only problem was that the lead character's girlfriend was trapped inside ...

7 Mayhem (2017) - Available On Shudder

In Mayhem, the airborne "Red Eye" virus impairs the neural abilities of humans, causing them to live out their most carnal and vicious desires. One day, the virus gets released into the ventilation system of a giant office tower, and the building is immediately forced into quarantine to contain the spread.

Inside, it becomes a total battle royale, as employees are forced to survive their fellow coworkers. The movie starred Steven Yeun, of Walking Dead fame, as well as Samara Weaving, who starred in Hulu's recent hit, Nine Perfect Strangers.

6 Poltergeist III (1998) - Available On HBO Max

In the third installment of the Poltergeist series, Carol Anne is sent to live with her aunt and uncle, who reside in Chicago's famous John Hancock Center, the fifth talent building in the city, standing at 100 stories tall. Naturally, once Carol Anne arrives, all hell breaks loose and the hauntings begin once again.

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The film was criticized for its story compared to the two previous films, but it was also praised for its use of practical effects. Sadly, it was the last film that Heather O'Rourke starred in before her untimely passing. She died before production was completed, causing controversy around whether Poltergeist III was cursed, should ever be released, or even completed.

5 Devil (2010) - Available On Peacock

Though M. Night Shyamalan's movies are polarizing, he's once again creating hit horror movies like Old and The Visit. However, in the late 2000s, Shyamalan had a string of poorly-received movies like Lady in the WaterThe Happening and The Last Airbender. Fortunately, Devil, which was written and produced by Shyamalan, was released and once again showed signs of promise for the filmmaker.

In the film, a group of strangers all get trapped in an elevator and one by one, they start mysteriously dying. Devil did an excellent job of creating a story in one very confined, small space, and it saved Shyamalan's reputation, proving that he still knew how to return to his horror roots.

4 Shivers (1975) - Available On Shudder

Directed by master of squirm-in-your-seat movies, David Cronenberg, Shivers takes place in a Montreal apartment high-rise. In the film, a parasite has been released into the apartment complex that causes humans to lose inhibitions and become slaves to their sexual desires. Before long, chaos fills the apartment tower as the parasite uses sex to spread itself to new hosts.

Combining sex and nudity with horror is something Cronenberg is famous for, like the infamous cockroach scene in Naked Lunch, Jeff Goldblum's naked body being melded with that of a fly in The Fly, and the "snuff" film plotline of Videodrome.

3 Attack The Block (2011) - Available On Hulu

In Attack the Block, a group of thugs in South London suddenly find themselves being attacked by alien invaders. "Block" refers to an apartment tower, sometimes carrying with it the context of being public housing - hence the film name - as the group seeks shelter in one of London's towering apartment blocks.

The movie also proved to be the breakout role for future Star Wars star, John Boyega. Attack the Block quickly gained international fame and took home awards at SXSW, the Los Angeles Film Festival, and numerous others.

2 American Psycho (2000) - Available On Showtime

American Psycho is one of the most lauded yet misunderstood horror films of all time. The plot centers around a narcissistic sociopath living in New York City who is consumed by his own greed and rage. Unable to handle his emotions, he kills whomever he pleases ... often in his high-rise apartment on the Upper West Side.

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Rather than just an incidental setting, the apartment serves a point in the story, as its opulence is an intentional display of capitalism and privilege. And as Den of Geek mentions, it's also a comment on toxic masculinity, male aggression and dominance, and the problems that arise from it.

1 High-Rise (2015) - Available On Amazon Prime

High-Rise tackles the "city within a city" concept of architecture that seeks to build apartment towers with amenities like grocery stores, office space, and more, all with the idea that someone could spend their entire day without ever leaving the building. This concept has been used in numerous high-profile skyscrapers, such as the Marina Towers in Chicago.

In High-Rise, the residents of a new multi-use apartment tower seldom leave the building now that they no longer need to. However, there are underlying tensions as the floors are segregated by class. Once the building begins to crumble and experience power outages, water shortages, and a lack of police presence, the residents become unruly, ultimately turning the building's interiors into a full-on warzone.

NEXT: The Best '90s Horror Movies That Divided Critics



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